Robert Lee Frost, mostly known as Robert Frost was born on the 26th of March in San Francisco, a Californian city. He was a bright child of William Prescott Frost, a renowned journalist, while his mother, Isabelle Moodie, was a Scottish immigrant. His father worked as a teacher for many years. Robert’s father was also an unsuccessful candidate for a city tax collector. Sadly, William died due to tuberculosis in 1885, when Frost was just eleven years old. After his father’s demise, the family moved to eastern Massachusetts to stay with their grandparents.
Robert Lee Frost attended Lawrence High School and graduated in 1892 as a valedictorian poet. It was there he learned character types, distinctive speech patterns, and regional customs. Right after graduation, he attended Dartmouth College, where he became a member of Theta Delta Chi Fraternity. Later, in 1897 he attended Harvard University, but unfortunately, he was dropped out twice due to his fragile health. Later, he received his Master of Arts in 1918 and his doctoral degrees from Oxford and Cambridge in 1957. Throughout his educational career, he remained a brilliant student. He used to share his ideas with Elinor White and later fell in love with her. He started his writing career at high school, while his first professional publication, “My Butterfly: An Elegy” appeared in The Independent, a weekly literary journal.
Robert Lee Frost married Elinor White, with whom he shared his valedictorian honors. The couple got married in 1895 after which Frost tried his luck in the teaching profession. He spent two years at Harvard but could not complete his degree. It was difficult for him to raise a family. Therefore, he tried his hands on chicken farming at Methuen, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, that business also met failure. Another calamity hit when his children died. Despite failures, loss, and frustrations in business and life, Robert never gave up and pursued his interest in poetry resolutely.
Robert Frost continued his efforts and kept on polishing his abilities throughout his life. His untiring efforts and magical pen won matchless popularity for him. After passing a ripe career, this iconic figure breathed his last on the 29th of January 1963 at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- President John F. Kennedy invited him to his 1961 Presidential Inauguration to read his poem, “Dedication.”
- The epitaph on his tombstone has been taken from his own poem.
- He won Pulitzers Prize for his literary efforts four times, while no other poet has yet managed to supersede him.
Robert Frost’s life was marred by a series of tragedies. First, the early demise of his father, later the deaths of his children, and then the loss in business. However, all these hindrances could not destroy his writing talent. He graduated from Lawrence High School as a poet but could not polish his poetic abilities due to the unfavorable luck. His first poem, “My Butterfly: An Elegy” was published in 1894. Various poets such as Robert Graves, Edward Thomas, and Robert Brooke used to meet him and encourage him to write poetry. During his visit to England, he became friends with Ezra Pound, who later helped him in his publications. He published “A Boy’s Will” in 1913. Later, in 1916, in his book “Mountain Interval” he presented a perfect combination of narratives and lyrics in his poetry. “Selected Poems” and “New Hampshire” hit the shelves in 1923. He became so much popular with his simplicity in poetry that it earned him four Pulitzer Prizes. Besides poetry, he produced the updated version of Biblical story, A Masque of Mercy, in 1947. Furthermore, he was the first poet honored to recite a poem at the Presidential Inauguration of John F. Kennedy.
Robert Frost added more colors to the world of literature. Despite having a traumatic life, he secured a reputable place as a literary man with his creative and thoughtful ideas. The early demise of his father and his children provided him with an insight to feel the intense pain of loss and express it in simple and ordinary language. He documented these ideas in his poems and plays so well, such as “After Apple-Picking”, “Mending Wall” and “Out- Out” have become household names on account of their deceptively innocent themes.
Moreover, his ideas about social outcasts and love for nature are reflected well in his works. The recurring themes in most of his poems are love, death, beauty, man and the natural world, and struggle. Robert Frost used literary devices that turned to visual and sensual imagery, metaphors, similes, and symbolism to create a unique style.
Robert Frost’s Works
- Best Poems: His popular poems include: “After Apple-Picking”, “Mending Wall”, “Birches”, “Out-Out”, “Fire and Ice”, Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
- Best Plays and Prose Books: His famous books and plays include: “A Way Out: A One-Act Play“, “A Masque of Reason “, “A Masque of Mercy”, “The Notebooks of Robert Frost, edited by Robert Faggen”, “Selected Letters of Robert Frost.”
Robert Frost’s Impact on Future Literature
Robert Frost was a classical writer who started writing at a young age and became very popular during his lifetime. His literary qualities and unique expressions have added so much to the world of literature. Even during his lifetime, Frost has had a significant influence on a diverse range of writers and poets. His works are widely anthologized and taught in different syllabuses across the world for their simplicity, universality, and ordinariness. He successfully brought into light the concept of soothing nature and its role in man’s life. He expressed his ideas in his poems. His poems are very much an inspiration to modern times to this day. Many modern poets attempt to imitate his style, considering him a role model for writing prose and poetry.
- “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”(The Road Not Taken, Poem)
- “Some say the earth will end in fire,
Some say in ice.” (Fire and Ice)
- “I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.
I have out walked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.” (Acquainted with the Night)